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Key Nutrients for Teens. Calcium Iron Folic Acid. The Need for Focusing on These Key Nutrients. Teens are drinking more soft drinks, less milk Teens are not meeting calcium requirements 25% of teen girls are iron deficient Iron deprivation associated with cognitive damage

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key nutrients for teens

Key Nutrients for Teens



Folic Acid

the need for focusing on these key nutrients
The Need for Focusing on These Key Nutrients
  • Teens are drinking more soft drinks, less milk
  • Teens are not meeting calcium requirements
  • 25% of teen girls are iron deficient
  • Iron deprivation associated with cognitive damage
  • American diets are poor in folic acid
  • Folic acid critical in decreasing risk of birth defects
the school environment
The School Environment

Things to consider:

  • Are pop machines accessible?
  • Do lunch/breakfast programs offer a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains?
  • Are parents included in nutrition ed efforts?
  • Grab and go lunch option?
  • Offer milk in a variety of forms
key nutrients for teens1
Key Nutrients for Teens

Let’s take a more detailed look at…

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folic Acid
  • Role in the body
  • Status of U.S. teens
  • Good food sources
  • Calcium/Vitamin D link
  • Options for those with lactose intolerance
calcium s role in the body
Calcium’s Role in the Body
  • Structural component of bones and teeth
  • Aids in muscle contraction
  • Aids in blood clotting
  • Transmission of nervous system messages
u s teens and calcium consumption
U.S. Teens and Calcium Consumption
  • 9 out of 10 girls are not meeting calcium requirements
  • 7 out of 10 boys are not meeting calcium requirements
  • Younger children (ages 6-11) 2/3 not meeting calcium requirements
why be concerned about calcium intake during teen years
Why be concerned about calcium intake during teen years?
  • Other than infancy, this is most rapid growth period
    • 15-20% of adult height is acquired
    • 50-80% of adult weight
    • Approximately 45% of total skeletal mass is acquired
  • Without proper nutrients, the optimal growth opportunity is lost
  • Dire long term health consequences can result
weight bearing exercise and bone health
Weight Bearing Exercise and Bone Health
  • Weight bearing exercise an important factor in bone health
  • Running, walking, weight-lifting add to the strength of bones
  • Drink your milk and keep moving!
how much calcium should a teen get
How much calcium should a teen get?

The recommendation for calcium intake for children and young adults, ages 9-18 is 1,300 mg of calcium per day

good food sources of calcium
Good Food Sources of Calcium
  • Milk and milk products
  • Dark, leafy green veggies
  • Some fish and shellfish
the calcium vitamin d link
The Calcium/Vitamin D Link
  • Need vitamin D for absorption of calcium
  • Most milk products are “fortified” with vitamin D
  • Exposure to sunlight is good source of vitamin D
lactose intolerance
Lactose Intolerance
  • Very common problem, especially among certain ethnic groups
  • Decreased production of enzyme lactase
getting calcium despite lactose intolerance
Getting Calcium Despite Lactose Intolerance
  • Look for lactose reduced/lactose free milk and dairy products
  • Add lactase enzyme to fluid milk
  • Take lactase supplement
  • Consume small quantities of lactose foods
  • Iron’s role in the body
  • Iron deficiency
  • U.S. teens and iron consumption
  • Iron rich foods
  • Complementary foods
  • Iron supplementation
iron s roles in the body
Iron’s Roles in the Body
  • Component of hemoglobin
  • Part of an immune system enzyme
  • Helps vitamin A function well
  • Helps produce collagen
symptoms of iron deficiency
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
  • Rapid fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Severe - anemia
    • headaches
    • insomnia
    • feeling cold
    • pallor
u s teens and iron deficiency
U.S. Teens and Iron Deficiency
  • 25% of teenaged girls are iron deficient
  • Many teenage boys also have iron poor diets
  • Diagnosis made via blood test
  • Easily reversible by consuming iron rich diet
recommended iron intake
Teen Girls:

15 mg/day

Teen Boys:

10-12 mg/day

Recommended Iron Intake
two types of dietary iron
Two types of dietary iron
  • Heme Iron:
    • animal food sources
    • part of hemoglobin molecule in food source
  • Non-heme Iron:
    • plant food sources
    • not as well absorbed as heme iron
optimizing iron absorption
Optimizing Iron Absorption
  • Combine iron rich foods with foods that enhance absorption, such as:
    • vitamin C rich foods
    • eat heme iron source along with non-heme source
  • Choose to eat foods that decrease iron absorption at another time:
    • coffee, tea
    • high fiber foods
iron supplementation
Iron Supplementation
  • Need careful direction of health care provider
  • Want to avoid excessive iron
folic acid
Folic Acid
  • The roles of folic acid in the body
  • How much folic acid does a teen need?
  • Good food sources of folic acid
roles of folic acid in the body
Roles of Folic Acid in the Body
  • A cell building B vitamin
  • Helps to produce DNA and RNA
  • Known to play a role in reducing birth defects
  • May have role in protecting against heart disease
  • Works with vitamin B12 in forming hemoglobin in red blood cells
the folic acid birth defect link
The Folic Acid/Birth Defect Link
  • Folic acid found to have significant role in reducing the incidence of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida)
  • Taking 400mcg folic acid periconception can reduce incidence of neural tube defects by 50%
folic acid recommendations for teens
Folic Acid Recommendations for Teens
  • 400 mcg folic acid per day
  • This recommendation is largely based upon reduction of birth defects association with folic acid.
  • Current recommendations are the same for both genders.
good food sources of folic acid
Orange Juice

Leafy vegetables


Fortified Grain Products





Good Food Sources of Folic Acid
fortification of foods with folic acid
Fortification of Foods with Folic Acid
  • Began January 1, 1998
  • FDA requires folic acid be added to all enriched grain products
  • Based on connection between folic acid and reduction of neural tube defects
module 2 key nutrients for teens
Module 2: Key Nutrients for Teens

Information and Activities to incorporate into the curriculum

what s the truth
What’s the Truth?
  • Pre-module true/false quiz
  • Assess present knowledge and misconception at start of module
background information sheets
Background Information Sheets
  • Calcium: Got Milk?
  • Iron: Basic Facts About this Important Mineral
  • Folic Acid: The Cell Builder
activity 1 cups of calcium
Activity 1: Cups of Calcium
  • Simulation activity
    • calcium in bones compared to flour in bags
  • Follow-up questions
  • Self-Assessment
activity 2 get the magnet
Activity 2: Get the Magnet!
  • Students visually assess the iron content of various breakfast cereals
  • Follow-up questions
activity 3 assess your folic acid intake
Activity 3: Assess Your Folic Acid Intake
  • Activity primarily serves to introduce this relatively unknown nutrient
  • Increases student’s awareness of their own consumption of this nutrient
the virtual connection
The Virtual Connection

A few internet resources are highighted to support the information presented in the module:

clueless in the mall a calcium scavenger hunt
Clueless in the Mall:A Calcium Scavenger Hunt
  • A fun, interactive website.
  • Students answer clues as they progress through scavenger hunt
dairy council of california
Dairy Council of California
  • Information & Resources for…
    • educators
    • families
    • kids
    • professionals
cdc information on iron deficiency
CDC Information on Iron Deficiency
  • Up-to-date research based information on iron deficiency
  • Technical and detailed
    • not for students - geared toward professional wanting current iron deficiency information
march of dimes information on folic acid
March of Dimes Information on Folic Acid
  • Information on “Folic Acid Campaign”
  • Most current information and recommendations